Continuing the series profiling Music Scholarship students at the University of Kent. This week, first-year studying Music, Zaneta Balsevic.
My interest in music was well established from the age of 11. This interest came during a local school concert where I saw a group of string players perform. This had an immediate impact on me and soon after I convinced my parents to register me for the local music school, which became my daily passion. I began to appreciate the power and meaning that music has as well as develop my performance skills on the violin. In my native country, Lithuania, I studied in a music school for four years before moving to the UK. There, I was part of a string ensemble, with whom we performed regularly in music school concerts as well as national festivals. A year later, I became part of a piano trio and in 2010 we won 2nd place in the Third Annual Dainius Trinkunas Junior Chamber Music Festival at the Lithuanian National Academy of Music and Theatre. We also performed in numerous other competitions and concerts.
As I grew older, I became increasingly captivated by my instrument. I have learnt that a successful performance requires many challenges to be overcome such as gaining high self-confidence and learning to communicate musically with the audience.
Since I moved to the UK in 2012, my goal has been tightly focused; to study music at a highly respected music institution. I believed that a conservatoire education would enable me to become a successful professional violinist. I also believed it is a great place to meet like-minded musicians and develop ensemble skills through playing in chamber ensembles and orchestras. This motivated me to prepare for an audition and as a result I gained place to study Violin Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Yet, I soon realised that university is a more suitable place for me as a musician and a student. I believe that having gained an academic degree it would enable me to be more flexible with regards to my career options, while being part of orchestra and chamber groups, therefore helping me to developing equally as a student and a musician.
I was a member of the Musica Nova Academy, where I participated in various concerts often taking place in St. Steven’s Church and the Rossotrudnichestvo Centre in Kensington. For a year, I have been a part of trio ensemble in my music school. With the trio, we have performed a tango piece Primavera Portena and Ave Maria by Astor Piazzolla. This is also when I passed my grade 8 in violin with distinction.
One of my greatest performance experiences was at the international music competition in Bulgaria ‘Zvezdna Dga’ where I performed Tchaikovsky’s Melodie. I was awarded first place in the category of solo classical performance. This experience helped me to overcome my greatest fears and to realise the importance of the performer as a communicator who isn’t afraid to imprint their own interpretation of the music that they play.
In addition to playing at ‘Music Nova’ I have also fully supported my secondary school music department in many ways. I was a member of the school Orchestra and I also lead the string orchestra and played in the band for a musical last year. In addition to this, I led a sectional of 60 primary school students in the school’s annual ‘Primary School Choral and Orchestral Day’. I believe that working with less-experienced musicians has helped to strengthen my communication, leadership and social skills and I enjoyed acting as a musical role model for younger musicians in the school.
I have greatly enjoyed participation in a music competition ‘Stars of the Albion’ in February 2014 and have won a second place in the category of solo violin classical music.
Visiting the University of Kent, I was astonished by this beautiful place, course, and people. This led to a decision to study here. Currently, I participate in University Choir and Orchestra (Medway), Chamber Music Forum and City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra.